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Saturday, September 12, 1998 Published at 16:22 GMT 17:22 UK

Mystery backer aids fans

Up for sale: Manchester United

An unnamed pop star is reported to have added his money to a campaign by Manchester United supporters to stop media mogul Rupert Murdoch taking over the club.

Andy Walsh: Secured pop star's support
Manchester United's board has already agreed a deal worth 623m with the satellite TV company BSkyB, controlled by Mr Murdoch.

The Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association chairman Andy Walsh said: "A major name in the music industry has backed our campaign to the tune of 10,000."

But he refused to name the star and said the association would be making an announcement, on Monday.

Speaking on BBC GMR, Mr Walsh said another multi-millionaire had agreed to support the fans' campaign, and the association had also secured the services of a "leading commercial lawyer".

Money 'going out of game'

However, Mr Walsh said the real issue is that Mr Murdoch's 623m would go to the directors and shareholders of the club, and out of the game.

[ image: Martin Edwards: Place on BSkyB board]
Martin Edwards: Place on BSkyB board
"There has been no promise from Sky whatsoever that they will invest money from outside Manchester United," he said.

He added it would be "highly unlikely" that the prospective buyers would be given any guarantees that they would bring money in from outside.

Mr Walsh accused Manchester United's Chief Executive Martin Edwards of failing to gain a legally binding undertaking from BSkyB to secure outside money.

But Mr Edwards had made sure that he has a legally binding undertaking of a place on the BSkyB board whether this deal goes through or not, Mr Walsh claimed.

He accused BSkyB and Mr Edwards of "dodging around" the money issue.

Mr Walsh said he would be putting forward the supporters' associations strategy next Tuesday to oppose the Murdoch bid and to "secure the future of Manchester United".

Web reports

Additional reports on the Internet claim Mr Murdoch was convinced to try to buy the club after a meeting with Italian media tycoon and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The reports say the talks, which began some months ago, were codenamed 'Operation Moore'.

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In this section

Inquiry chief reassures Man Utd fans

Bid rumours 'unfounded'

Countdown to the deal

Murdoch's dash to the goal

Murdoch's rise to the top

Who's afraid of Rupert Murdoch?

Man Utd: the jewel in football's crown

Is Mandelson a match for Murdoch?